myMISSION Collegiate Blog

Keep Knocking

It’s easy to pray for wisdom during a test, courage for a job interview, or safety while traveling home. We’re confident that God can answer those prayers. More than that, the answer to the prayer (or the result of the situation) is coming soon. You pass the test, don’t get the job, or arrive safely at home.

However, praying for people can be different, especially people you don’t like or agree with. I’m ashamed to admit that I have thought, “Is it really worth praying for them? They’re never going to change.” Even though I may not feel like praying for someone, I have to realize that I don’t act upon my feelings. I act in obedience to God’s Word.

In Luke 11:5–8, Jesus tells a story about a man whose friend showed up at his house at midnight. The man had no food to offer the traveler, so he ran to another friend, banged on the door, and asked for three loaves of bread. The supposed “friend” answered, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:7 NIV).

Brew a Cup of Real Love

Woman holds a cup of coffee

Have you ever tried to make coffee without coffee?

Probably not. The idea is clearly impossible, but I have often wished that I could do such a thing. Take a Monday morning, when you roll out of bed and stumble towards the coffee maker, only to realize that your precious bag of dark-roast coffee is empty. You want to make coffee. You have the equipment to make coffee. But you can’t actually produce a cup of coffee without the coffee itself.

In the same way, we can’t produce unconditional love for others on our own; we have to start with the unconditional love of Christ. First John 4:7–21 is filled with insights about loving God and loving others. Verse 7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” (NIV). Love doesn’t come from our desire to please others or even to do the right thing. It comes from God.

Secondly, verse 10 shows us that God’s love is unconditional. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (NIV). We were sinners, completely undeserving of God’s love and mercy, but God loved us anyway.

A Small Me in a Big World

SPOILER ALERT: For anyone who hasn’t heard, the Tooth Fairy is not real. When I was seven years old, I demanded the truth from my can’t-keep-a-secret grandmother. Although I had been suspicious, the Tooth Fairy revelation changed the way I viewed my tiny world. I realized I had not fully understood something, and I needed to shift my perspective.

Fast-forward 13 years, and my perspective on life continues to expand. College makes you realize that you’re a little person in a very big world. You become aware of serious social issues, extreme poverty, and people groups still unreached by the gospel. You come to the sobering realization that you can’t fix all of the world’s problems. However, the real question is not what can’t you do, but what can you do.

1. Educate yourself.

Sometimes it is hard to relate to people who are different from us. As Christians, we can’t write off people groups around the world because they’re from a different culture or background. Instead of ignoring what we don’t understand, we need to dig deeper. The more we understand, the more we can tell them about Jesus.

2. Find your passion.

Witnessing Their Way

 What first enters your mind when you hear the phrase “missions trip”? Is it construction projects, international travels, or children’s camps? Most trips have a set “mission.” However, I’ve realized that our plans are pointless if we don’t look for the needs of people and meet them where they are.

A few years ago I went on a missions trip to the Golden Isles in Georgia, and one day we were scheduled to play games with residents at a nursing home. I love board games and couldn’t wait to round up a group of seniors for some good old competition.   

We set up Mexican Train Dominoes, and I sat next to a woman named Miss Flora. “I don’t want to play the game,” she told me.

“Of course you want to play!” I exclaimed.

“I’m blind,” Miss Flora said curtly.

After an awkward pause, I said, “Well, Miss Flora, we can be on a team. I can tell you everything that is going on!” It didn’t take me long to realize that listening to the number of dots on dominos was not very fun.

What’s Your Routine?

At every stage in my childhood, I had a bedtime routine. When I was three years old, I insisted that my dad read P.B. Bear’s Birthday Party every single night. No other book would do! When I was five, I got up about 10 seconds after my parents tucked me into bed. I would march into the living room and announce, “I can’t sleep!” Then my dad would carry me back to my room and tuck me in bed for a second time.

Routines are the structure of our everyday lives. Many Christians desire to make spending time with God a part of their daily routine. However, this is easier said than done. When you are already balancing work, school, family, church, and other activities, how can you squeeze in another time commitment?

I faced this question during my freshman year of high school when I decided to read through the entire Bible before I went to college. I set a goal of reading one or two chapters every night before I went to bed. At first it was difficult to keep up the momentum. Sometimes I missed several days in a row, and I fell behind. However, I never quit. Even if I lagged behind schedule, I pressed on.

Forgetting Step 1: Prayer

I walked into my college internship ready to lead my first meeting. Armed with a stack of papers and my red pen, I was eager to present my project to the staff. But before I could tackle my agenda, my supervisor asked if she could pray for the meeting. “Lord,” she prayed, “We want You to work through this project. Please guide our decisions because we need Your wisdom.”

Wow. I realized that praying for God’s guidance in this project was not even on my radar! I had become so caught up in my planning that I completely forgot to invite God into the picture. Did I want God to work through this project? Absolutely. Did I stop to ask Him for guidance? No.

It’s easy to ask God to help us with life’s big issues, like choosing where to go to college or deciding on a major. However, we often forget to ask God for leadership in decisions that we make every day. I wanted to do God’s will through the project, but I failed to seek His counsel in the first place.

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